The Presbyterian Church in Canada has been involved in camping for over 50 years. Camp Christopher has been an integral part of this program since 1945.
In 1944, the Prince Albert Presbyterial of the W.M.S. visited potential sites for a sumer camp north of Prince Albert. The one chosen as most suited to the needs and providing possibilities for future development
and expansion was owned by a Mrs. C. Levall, and was located on Christopher Lake about 30 miles north of Prince Albert.
The site consisted of 103 acres between the lake and the highway. The waterfront had a splendid, sandy beach, some one half mile in length. The property also contained several stands of poplar, spruce and tamarack trees.
Mrs. Levall and her husband had developed parts of the site for commercial operations and contained several buildings ideal for starting a Christian camping program. The property was purchased by the W.M.S. for $2200.00 and they have held the title to the land until its recent transferal to the Synod of Saskatchewan.
Soon, the development of the land began in earnest. Both the Saskatoon Presbytery and the Presbyterial of Saskatoon were invited to make full use of the facilities and to help form a camp operating committee.
1945 was a year of great activity, with the W.M.S. granting $2000.00 towards the erection of a building that would serve as a kitchen, dining/recreation hall and dormitory.
During the construction of the foundations and erection of that walls, word was sent from Ottawa that the license to build had been rejected due to the pressing need for lumber to build houses for servicemen returning from World War II. However it was possible to erect a smaller building costing less than $500.00, so the committee decided to go ahead and close in space for a kitchen, dining and sleeping area. The doors and windows were temporarily covered with canvas and more tents were purchased.
St. Paul’s Church in Prince Albert loaned the camp their dishes, with the option that the camp could buy them at a nominal price once the church had obtained some new ones.
Food rationing was still in force at this time; therefore it was necessary to make application as a quota user of sugar, butter and other preserves.
The first camp was held in the summer of 1945, with registration fees for board and transportation of $10.00 and had 51 boys and 63 girls in attendance.
In 1989, initial meetings were held to discuss starting a relationship between the Synod of Saskatchewan of the Presbyterian Church and the Saskatoon Presbytery of the United Church in order to run the summer camping programs. At that time the United Church needed a more appropriate site for camping and the Presbyterian Church needed more campers to make full use of the Camp Christopher site.
From then on the summer programs at Camp Christopher were planned and run jointly by the two denominations. The United Church was asked to send representatives to the Synod Camp Committee and to have representatives on the Leadership & Program Committee, and volunteers and staff were actively recruited from both denominations. The Presbyterians remained owners and were responsible for the development of the property, and the denominations shared the expenses of the summer program.
Camp is still flourishing today, thanks to the efforts of many volunteers on the various camp committees.